Only Birds Welcome in One Part of Bay

Sunday, May 30, 2010  |  Updated 3:49 PM PDT
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A large swath of northern San Francisco Bay waters between Tiburon and Sausalito became off limits to boat traffic and water sports until spring in order to preserve the area as a marine sanctuary for migratory birds.  The restriction went into effect Thursday.

The 900-acre portion of Richardson Bay, which stretches from Strawberry Point toward the Tiburon shoreline to the windward side of Belvedere Island, is protected by an ordinance of the Richardson Bay Regional Agency. The organization mandates a protective closure of the area each year from Oct. 1 to March 31.

All boating activities -including those on non-motorized crafts such as kayaks, canoes, windsurf boards and sailboats -- are prohibited annually during this period when thousands of ducks, geese, gulls and shorebirds take refuge around Richardson Bay during migrations further south, or for the entire winter season.

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, which manages the wildlife area, maintains buoys and permanent marked pilings to designate the sanctuary boundaries.

"We've had great support from the community over the years for the closure," Audubon center sanctuary manager Kerry Wilcox said in a statement, "because most people understand the importance of protecting this important habitat area." 

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